Cover Letters

Why write a cover letter?

A tailored cover letter accompanies your resume in order to introduce yourself, indicate what job you are applying for, and present how you are uniquely qualified for that position. Cover letters add immense value to resumes by displaying your commitment and eagerness, showcasing your writing and communication skills, addressing unique requirements and qualifications, and articulating why you would be an asset to the organization.

Key Elements

  • Use the names of specific hiring personnel whenever possible. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding this information.
  • Briefly explain why you are eager to work in this job with this company.
  • Recap the nature and duties of the role, then showcase your most desirable and relevant qualifications.
  • Request an interview and establish a time when you will follow up with a phone call or visit.

Format

Heading

  • Sender’s Name (avoid nicknames)
  • Sender’s Address (street address, city, state, zip)
  • Date
  • Addressee’s Name (full name, first and last)
  • Addressee’s Address (street address, city, state, zip)

Introduction Paragraph

  • Salutation (Dear Hiring Manager or Name)
  • Express Interest (2-3 things about job or company that interests you)

Body Paragraph

  • Related Experiences (what makes you the right fit)
  • Additional Information (anything you want the employer to know about you, not communicated in your resume)

Conclusion Paragraph

  • Statement of Gratitude (thank the employer for the opportunity)
  • Interest to Connect (offer a time to follow-up)

Closing

  • Complementary Close (Sincerely, Regards, etc.)
  • Sender’s Signature
  • Sender’s Printed Name

Common Mistakes

  • “One draft fits all.” A cover letter is less effective if not tailored to each job and company you apply to.
  • Too long. Approximately 250 words in total is the ideal length.
  • Overly formal tone. Be professional, but give it your voice and personality.
  • Irrelevant info. Only communicate skills, interests, and experiences that closely align with the employers expressed needs and desires.
  • DO NOT list references on your cover letter. Make the name, title, address, phone number and email of your references available on a SEPARATE sheet of paper entitled “REFERENCES”, and provide it during an interview or upon request. Be sure and ask permission to use someone as a reference before you give a potential employer their name and address.
Categories:
Career & Employment
Topics:
Job Preparation
From:
Career Development
Last Updated:
March 21, 2017
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